January 6 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – January 6 *

1773 – “Felix,” a Boston slave, and others petition Massachusetts
Governor Hutchinson for their freedom. It is the first of
a record eight similar petitions filed during the
Revolutionary War.

1831 – The World Anti-Slavery Convention opens in London, England.

1832 – William Lloyd Garrison founds the New England Anti-Slavery
Society at the African Meeting House in Boston,
Massachusetts, where he issues the society’s “Declaration
of Sentiments” from the Meeting House pulpit.

1882 – Thomas Boyne receives the Congressional Medal of Honor for
bravery in two New Mexico battles while a sergeant in Troop
C, 9th U.S. Calvary.

1906 – Benedict Wallet Vilakazi is born in South Africa. He will
become a pre-apartheid Zulu poet, novelist, and educator.
In 1946, he will become the first Black South African to
receive a Ph.D. He will become the first Black South African
to teach white South Africans at the university level. He
will join the ancestors on October 26, 1947 after succumbing
to meningitis.

1937 – Doris Payne is born in Bronx, New York. She will become a
rhythm and blues singer better known as Doris Troy and best
known for her song “Just One Look.” She will also be known
as “Mama Soul.” “Mama, I Want To Sing” will be a stage
musical based on her life, and co-written with her sister,
Vy. It will run for 1,500 performances at the Heckscher
Theatre in Harlem. She will play the part of her own mother,
Geraldine. She will join the ancestors on February 16, 2004,
succumbing to emphysema.

1966 – Harold R. Perry becomes the second African American Roman
Catholic bishop since the U.S. was founded and the first in
the 20th century.

1968 – John Daniel Singleton is born in Los Angeles, California.
He will become an Academy Award-nominated film director,
screenwriter, and producer. His movies will depict his
native South Los Angeles with both its sweet and violent
sides given equal consideration. He will attend Pasadena
City College and the University of Southern California.
He will receive many distinctions, beginning during his
time as an undergraduate screenwriter at the University
of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts,
including nominations for Best Screenplay and Director for
“Boyz N the Hood.” He will be the youngest person ever
nominated for Best Director at the 1991 Academy Awards for
“Boyz N the Hood” and the first (and, to date, the only)
African American to be nominated for the award.

1971 – Cecil A. Partee is elected president pro tem of the Illinois
State Senate. He is the first African American to hold this

1984 – Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Robert N.C. Nix, Jr., is
inaugurated as Chief Justice. The Philadelphia native,
former deputy attorney general of the state, and thirteen-
year veteran of the Court, is the first African American to
head a state Supreme Court.

1989 – Elizabeth Koontz joins the ancestors at the age of 69. She
was a noted educator and the first African American
president of the National Education Association. She also
had been director of the Women’s Bureau in the U.S.
Department of Labor.

1993 – Jazz great, John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, joins the ancestors
in Englewood, New Jersey at the age of 76. He had played
actively until early 1992.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry.


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